Normandy Quartet negotiations vs situation in Eastern Ukraine

Author : Oleksandr Khara

Source :

Commentary of Ukrainian diplomat, expert of Maidan of Foreign Affairs charity fund Oleksandr Khara
12:33, 25 July 2017

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The Telegraph

Yesterday's negotiations of the Normandy Quartet - this was probably the rare case when Ukraine was trying to take an information initiative and show the events in coverage through our prism. Of course, there will be a Russian version of the truth, and another one - more objective in covering what was said - on the part of the French and Germans. Therefore, you should wait. At least it is positive, that the information space is saturated with our vision.

We must check what Putin says. We absolutely can’t have any confidence in relation to Mr. Putin. But sometimes we need to check our president too, because sometimes he gives out desirable as valid and, of course, I would like to know for sure what we agreed on. It often happens that they did not talk about it, or there was no agreement.

For example, one of the points that the Ukrainian media wrote about is the need to involve UN peacekeepers. Periodically, our president chose such topics as either a reinforced OSCE military mission, or a police mission, or again the UN. I looked through the website of the President of Ukraine, on July 9 he met with the UN Secretary General - there was no question of a peacekeeping mission in Donbas. I looked at the website of our permanent mission to the UN - the last mention of February this year, it was about security and political involvement of the UN, that is, the very peacekeeping mission was not mentioned. What did the president mean, did someone agreed on it, or maybe they all agreed, and whether there are concrete steps, or was it just a simple thesis - is still unknown.

Related: Merkel, Macron on Donbas: Fulfill Minsk, withdraw forces, let in OSCE

We live in a certain "doublethink" of Orwell. We have rhetoric that there is a war, and from the legal point of view we do not have an interstate conflict. In fact, Minsk agreements register the state of civil conflict in Ukraine with a certain involvement of the Russian Federation. And, unfortunately, such uncertainty makes it possible to treat it as you like. Of course, Berlin and Paris understand that Russia is an aggressor, that it supports military units, which we wrongly call terrorists. Of course, they are trying, within the framework of how Ukraine represents the conflict, to support us and stop this war. On the other hand, Russia does not recognize itself as a party to the conflict, and it manages to manipulate these things.

Of course, no changes after these negotiations should be expected, as the players remain the same, and the interests remain the same. Thank God, there is no cardinal advantage of the Russian side at the front, although our army suffers losses. We can change the situation only in a way that can be too expensive, and this requires a lot of support from the West, including military, and more pressure on the Russian Federation. And here we face certain problems. On the one hand, the sanctions pressure remains, and can even be increased due to US sanctions. Let me remind you that in the near future the law on sanctions should be amended, including those against the Russian Federation. And this can become a powerful lever of influence. But on the other hand, this law, which the US senators have worked out, can bring a certain discord in relations with Europe. And this can negatively affect the general western front against Russia.

Related: Donbas conflict: Militants shell 27 times, three Ukrainian soldiers injured

Related: Volker says after his visit US, West will determine next steps on Donbas conflict

Related: Kremlin criticizes new sanctions approved by US Congress

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